in three years. >> reporter: doug got slapped with $164 new patient fee simply because it had been too long since his last visit. like the airlines, doctors are getting creative with fees charging for everything from phone conversations to calling in a prescription and, yes, asking questions. >> my doctor says what questions do you have? and i had a little list and i said this, this and this. >> reporter: but it turns out asking questions can also be your best defense against surprising fees if you ask them in advance. when making your appointment, ask point-blank, how much will it cost me and are there extra fees? >> i would never have known had i not taken the time to call. >> reporter: there is no requirement to disclose fees up front but your doctor should be willing to answer specific questions like will i be charged for questions or do you charge a fee to fill a prescription? many new fees are not covered by insurance. >> so how many extra questions could you have in the appointment? do you have to say these are my top three? >> reporter: usually you make an appointment for a reason.